Note how fast the robbery occurred. The two “gentlemen” entered the store running. They were in the clerk’s face in under two seconds. The bystander stammered around instead of running or taking cover. The clerk hid behind counter instead of running away (may have been good decision, maybe not). He reached for his gun while the robbers had guns in hand. That only works well if robbers are not paying attention—which seemed plausible in this case. But it was an extremely risky proposition, as demonstrated by the robbers trying to shoot the clerk . . .

While the clerk didn’t get hit, it’s only because of the “gentleman caller’s” lack of marksmanship.

It took a while, but clerk finally realized that concealment will not stop bullets. He finally shot through the display. GOOD! As John Farnam says “What do most people do after being shot with a handgun? The same thing they were doing before they were shot with a handgun.”

Notice the gentleman caller kept shooting even after being shot, although he did decide to make an exit. The clerk seemed oblivious to the fact that the second gentleman caller was right around the corner, only 10 feet away.

Interesting note: the second caller didn’t give a shit that his buddy was being shot at and kept rummaging through he counter during the gun fight.

The second gentleman was not threatening the clerk nor did he appear to have a weapon, though we could not hear what was said nor see if there was one in his waistband. Might have been an illegal use of lethal force on behalf of the clerk?

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29 Responses to David Kenik on the Valero Gas Station Robbery

  1. That raises an interesting legal question. If you’re being robbed by two, um, gentleman callers, as the rabbi so delicately puts it, and one is already shooting at you, is it legally reasonable to assume that the other one is also armed? Clearly your life is in danger. If you shoot at one and he retreats, are you obligated to determine if the other one is armed before sending lead his way?

    • It would be reasonable to assume that the 2nd person is armed–surely best practice tactically.

      The Warren Doctrine states that all members of a gang share the responsibility of the gang’s threat/action, however, when there is only one person left, you have to judge his actions/threats as an individual at that exact moment.

      Shooting an unarmed person (assuming he is) who is not attacking you will be problematic in many jurisdictions if pressed by a zealous prosecutor.

      • @Rabbi

        Both “gentlemen” are still in the store when the clerk shoots the “gentleman” rummaging behind the counter. I can’t tell if any shots are being fired by the “gentleman” in the white after the clerk shoots at him but since both “gentleman” are in the building when the clerk shots the “gentleman” in black then I’d think that the Warren Doctrine is still in effect. yes/no?

        • It looks like #1 left before the clerk shot at #2, but we can not actually see what is going on.

          If 5 people come up to you in a group and two have knives, all are responsible for the threat.

          However, if one does not participate in the threat –not standing with the gang– has no weapon and does not threaten you, how do you think the prosecutor will paint the picture to the jury?

    • I know people who stash weapons around their house rather than carry on their person. This video is a great example of why that may not be best practice.Notice the clerk did not escape the threat with the gun in hand. His first reaction was to duck and cover. The gun was only a second thought. Luckily, he was close enough to reach it quickly, but another foot away may have pushed his luck.Had he had the gun on him, he may have been able to shoot #1 long before he did and lesson the risk of return fire. The clerk was more lucky than prepared.

    • “If you’re being robbed by two, um, gentleman callers, as the rabbi so delicately puts it, and one is already shooting at you, is it legally reasonable to assume that the other one is also armed?”

      In PA, I believe that our recent expansion of codified stand-your-ground doctorine covers such a situation, and would give you a solid criminal and civil defense if you were to use lethal force in such a situaiton. Below is part of what was PA HB 40, and is now Title 18 chapter 50 (criminal defnese) and Title 42 § 8340.2 (civil immunity).

      “(2.3) An actor who is not engaged in a criminal activity, WHO IS NOT IN ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF A FIREARM and who is attacked in any place where the actor would have a duty to retreat under paragraph (2)(ii), has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and use force, including deadly force, if:
      (i) the actor has a right to be in the place where he was attacked;
      (ii) the actor believes it is immediately necessary to do so to protect himself against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or sexual intercourse by force or threat; and
      (iii) the person against whom the force is used displays or otherwise uses:
      (A) a firearm or replica of a firearm as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9712 (relating to sentences for offenses committed with firearms); or
      (B) any other weapon readily or apparently capable of lethal use.”

      In short, as both criminals were engaged in armed robbery, the clerk clearly had cause to reasonably fear for his life, and had the immediate need to defend himself. As such, were the above situation to occur in PA, he would be fully justified in his use of force, at least as far as I saw in the video.

      • The key to your statement and the point in question is:
        “who is attacked in any place…”

        Did #2 attack or pose a threat of attack?

        • If #1 had killed the storekeeper, #2 could have been convicted of murder as well.

          Even without a weapon, #2 is a threat, with means (he’s working with a partner), opportunity (he’s 10 feet away, or less), and intent (obviously they threatened the clerk with grievous bodily harm if he did not cooperate).

    • In Mississippi, we have the Castle Doctrine. The moment Gentleman Caller #1 brandished a weapon, both Gentleman Callers could had their birth certificates revoked. Having a weapon is not necessary. Gentleman Caller #2 was participating in an armed robbery. The clerk would have been given the benefit of the doubt if he had shot #2.

  2. That’s some typically sh!tty shooting right there, and a bad case of target fixation by the clerk. Magical thinking, too, if he actually believed that the display would protect him from bullets. The customer froze just long enough to get shot, even though he wasn’t. The BGs were so fixated on ripping off some money and so pumped up on adrenalin that a trained shooter could have dropped them both with very little effort. And after exchanging gunfire with goblin#1, no court outside of California — not even the kangaroo courts of Massachusetts — would hold the clerk responsible for throwing down on goblin #2.

    • Bad shooting is quite typical even at close range because most people don’t train under stress –or train at all. It is very easy to miss at close distance due to the fact that most folks will revert to point shooting under stress even though they have no training or practice doing so.

      Most people will not shoot at what they can not see and assume concealment is cover. Quarters to the clerk for figuring out that he should shoot through concealment!

      I can’t imaging what the 2nd was so intently looking for, but he was determined!

      • @Rabbi

        I think he was looking for the register… that’s the logical thing anyway. Stupid criminals. Five minutes in the store before they tried robbing it would have shown them where it was.

        • Could be right, but I wouldn’t think it would be THAT hard to find????

          As cops say, we only catch the “stupid ones.”

  3. Long time reader, first posting…. I have seen a different copy of this video. In it, the “gentleman” in white gets a shot off into the clerks leg. There is another clerk on the floor in the left corner behind the counter, don’t think he was wounded. The second “gentleman” in black was apprehended a few blocks away after exiting the store and making it into someone’s front yard. The first guy was is still at large…

  4. They both deserved to be shot, and the clerk had every right to fear that the second scumbag/gentleman was armed after being shot at by the first scumbag/gentleman.

  5. The coordination of this robbery suggests that minutes before the robbery began, both robbers were standing on a corner with their pants below their asses sippin’ on a 40 trying to hollar at some hood rats.

  6. What I’m wondering is what does this have to do with you guys? Do you work in a convenience store in a dodgy neighborhood? If not, the chances of your having to use a gun to save yourselves are slim to say the least. Posting videos like this to justify doing what Robert does and what some of you other guys do, carry a gun every waking moment, is misleading. The more impressionable among you might get confused and begin thinking they really need that gun.

    • Mikey: How do you know what neighborhoods Robet’s posters live in? Ever hear of these devices called automobiles or buses or subways. People can move around you know.

      You are just annoyed that a DGU happened and the good guy won. Kind of undercuts your arguement.

      Crimes happen in all types of neighborhoods. Some places, like North Arlington, are safer then others like DC because of the presense of an armed citizenry. The bad guys prefer taking the Blue line into the district to do their business instead of riding it from DC into Virginia. Guns deter criminals because they raise the cost of doing business. (I repeat myself because I am waiting for your counterargument on both deterence and the difference between crime rates in the DC metro area.With the arrival of earlier sunsets it is time for me to carry more frequently. I do this not because I think it is likely that I will be attacked while walking my dogs in the dark through the park but I would rather be safe then sorry. By the way nobody in his right mind would walk his/her dogs in any park at night or off hours in DC no matter what neighborhood they live in. I wonder why?

    • Do we work in Convenience Stores in a dodgy neighborhood?
      A. how do you know its a “dodgy” neighborhood? Why dont you define “Dodgy” while you are at it. You seem to be under the impression that crimes like this only happen in “dodgy” neighborhoods. Not true. It stands to reason that they happen more often in bad neighborhoods, but incidents like this can and do happen everywhere. If you have some Special Map of Dodgy Neighborhoods that shows you where crimes will be committed and thus allows you to avoid incidents like this…Please share it. If you can say with certainty where the next incident like this will occur, let us all know and we will happily avoid that place.

      B. I dont work at a convenience store anymore (I did during highschool) but I do patronize stores from time to time. Like that unlucky fellow that was standing there with his cowboy hat on and his jaw hanging open when the two thugs burst in with gun(s?) drawn.

      C. “Do you work in a convenience store in a dodgy neighborhood? If not, the chances of your having to use a gun to save yourselves are slim to say the least.”
      Slim chance? Sure. Just as it is unlikely that I will need to use my seat-belt to save my life in a car accident. Just as it is unlikely that I will need to use the fire extinguisher in my kitchen or my home owner’s insurance. All of those things fall into the “slim chance” category, yet it still makes sense to prepare for them because the potential cost is so high.

      • Slim chance is putting it mildly.

        And if you’re gonna use comparisons you’ll have to do better than the seat belt one.

        The whole problem with guns as you guys want them is they are more likely to be used for harm than good. There’s a big down side to gun ownership. Seat belts don’t have that.

        You guys live in a fantasy world, an it wouldn’t be so bad except every once in a while you you get all negligent and shit with the gun or you let one get stolen. Every once in a while one of you goes off the deep end.

        Your fantasy about one day having to protect yourself has a big downside.

        • A big POTENTIAL downside. And that’s a small risk. A small risk that’s worth taking to avoid another risk that may be equally small, but which has a MUCH larger downside.

    • Mikey, who says this incident has to have anything to do with us directly?
      Whether we work in a “dodgy neighborhood” is neither none of your business nor is it relevant.
      The natural born “right” to defend ourselves has nothing to do with the probability of actually “needing” to use one. That “right” exists no matter where we are, so long as we are there legally. The “right” to defend ourselves is not diminished in the slightest by merely leaving a higher crime rate area to a lower crime rate area.
      Now the question of “needing” to carry a firearm is a slightly different issue. While I may decide for myself I don’t “need” to carry a firearm, the person who has the final say is the bad guy. The bad guy determines when I will “need” to carry a firearm, and I don’t know when he has determined that. Perhaps you have some precognition. So the people who determined that they don’t “need” to carry a firearm and are subsequently robbed have themselves partly to blame for not taking the responsibility of protecting themselves.
      And I don’t need to see some video on this website of an actual robbery incident, regardless of the location, to convince me I do “need” to carry a firearm. I’ve seen enough videos on TV and the internet that assaults, robberies, and home invasions happen everywhere.
      Funny thing is, I never read anywhere in the Constitution that carrying a firearm was based upon “need” rather than “right”. That is what the reasonable readers understand.

  7. I note that both patrons retreat when faced with armed resistance. Patron #2 didn’t react because he probably thought the first shots were fired by his partner, Patron #1. Once fire is directed at him he runs like a mad dog is pursuing him. I repeat myself (as we all do from time to time) almost every attacker will retreat when faced with armed resistance. He may shoot back at you but he is not sticking around for a duel to the death. It doesn’t matter whether you have a 22 or a 44 magnum, he is leaving at the sight of a gun. I am sure if you had the “most powerful gun in the world” in your hand Patron #2 would have beat feet at the sound of the first cannon shot but it isn’t necessary to carry the biggest gun in town or actually hit your target. Remember you are not the Police and the bad guy knows you aren’[t going to go in hot pursuit As long as he can retreat he’s not sticking around to play gunfight at the OK corral with you.

  8. I have to be brutally frank – how in the hell can you see this video and not see that the clerk’s life is in danger, and that his use of a firearm ended the robbery AND the threat against his life?

    Yes, I am looking at you Mikey.

  9. In my state the clerk would be justified. Reasonable force, up to and including lethal force is justified to prevent loss of life, serious bodily injury, or to prevent a forcible felony (again my state, your laws may vary).

    All those conditions are met in this video, imho.

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